Tone at the top Volume 4
24 May 2017
Where reputational risk is a strong factor in the managing of a business, a strong culture of ethics and compliance will be the cornerstone of the foundation. What has been proved over the years is that “a feel good” culture should be replaced by an ethical and compliant culture which can be defined, measured and improved.
Culture can be defined as how a company operates. If a company does not operate in an ethical and compliant manner the culture of the company will slip drastically as “the feel good” culture will take over and the integrity, compliance and ethical values will fall into a position of “nice to have” which is not what the Corporate Culture should seek to achieve. Culture is also a strong determination of how people behave within an organisation. Companies have to have their values etched in the minds of employees and then ensure the employee regards those values.
A company or organisation must have clear values that anything legal or regulatory is complied with under all circumstances and is followed through with integrity and good business ethics. The leadership of the organisation must always give pride and place to employees handling all their dealings legally and ethically.
The messages that are being sent from the Top must always reiterate the values and have ethics and compliance component at the forefront of that message.
Not only leadership but middle management themselves must be driving the values home. Employees through their day to day dealings must always be encouraged to voice their concerns where they feel that integrity, compliance and ethics is not being practiced throughout the organisation.
Any value judging must be done on an equitable basis. Employees will always find it easier to live with a judgement call which they don’t agree with, if all the values have been properly followed and all have been judged using an equitable solution.
Good and bad behaviour must be dealt with in the correct manner where regulatory compliance and ethical standards have been followed this needs to be rewarded and likewise bad behaviour (irrespective of the result) must also have negative consequences attached to it, so that values can be upheld.
On-boarding employees must look at factors such as integrity, ethics and character as much as it considers competence.
Employees throughout the firm must be fully aware that if they follow the values of the organisation by always being compliant, ethical, following regulatory laws and having integrity they will be rewarded, likewise employees achieving goals but not doing it within the realms and structure of the values put in place, will be dealt with accordingly.